Berkeley, CA (Sports Network) - Shane Vereen rumbled 61 yards for a touchdown and finished with 159 yards on the ground in place of an injured Jahvid Best, as California upended 18th-ranked Arizona, 24-16, at Memorial Stadium.
Giorgio Tavecchio kicked four field goals, including the go-ahead 22-yarder with under five minutes left. Kevin Riley connected on 13-of-22 passes for 181 yards with a TD and a pair of interceptions for the Golden Bears (7-3, 4-3 Pac-10), who bounced back from a loss last week and won for the fourth time in five contests.
Best missed the game due to a concussion he suffered in a 31-14 setback to Oregon State last week, although he came out on the field wearing sweat pants and participated in the game's opening coin toss.
Nick Foles connected on 24-of-41 attempts for 201 yards with a TD and an interception for the Wildcats (6-3, 4-2), who had a three-game winning streak broken and damaged their hopes of making the Rose Bowl. Foles made a costly mistake in a late fourth-quarter drive that ultimately ended in a turnover on downs.
Foles passed eight yards to A.J. Simmons for a score with nearly 12 1/2 minutes remaining, lifting the Wildcats to a 16-15 edge.
Vereen then took over, rushing for the majority of the ensuing drive, which led to Tavecchio's field goal with 4:46 remaining.
Foles then led Arizona to the Cal 25, but facing a 3rd-and-3 his pass was tipped at the line and the ball came back to the QB. Instead of running for a possible first down, Foles threw the ball and completed it, but because two forward passes cannot occur on one play, Arizona was called for a five-yard penalty from the spot of the foul.
That moved Arizona to a 4th-and-17 situation, and Foles' pass was broken up.
"I thought when they threw the ball down the field, our secondary did a great job making plays on balls," said Cal coach Jeff Tedford. "We got a couple of pass interferences, but besides that I thought our guys did a nice job playing the ball, running with the receivers and being in position to make plays."
Arizona had just one timeout left when Vereen took the ensuing play 61 yards for a touchdown, but Cal botched the extra point, giving the Wildcats another chance.
Foles moved his team to the near midfield but was then sacked. After a short completion to Nic Grisby, Foles was brought down again on fourth down, ending Arizona's chances.
"It was another tough loss," stated Arizona coach Mike Stoops. "Tough to lose a game, but when you look at the bigger picture, I thought Cal made it very difficult for us all night defensively. We never really consistently moved the football. They seemed to have a good beat on everything we did offensively. Defensively we made enough plays to hang around and give ourselves a chance."
Tavecchio kicked a 46-yard field goal to cap the game's opening drive, and the Golden Bears converted an Arizona turnover into points early in the second on a 22-yard field goal.
Arizona went ahead 7-6 with 3:27 left in the second on Keola Antolin's one- yard TD run and Alex Zendejas booted a 36-yard field goal in the closing minute of the half for the Wildcats.
Cal had just 22 seconds to move the ball into range for Tavecchio, but his 46- yard kick was true to bring the score to 10-9 at the intermission.
Foles was picked off early in the third quarter, but Tavecchio missed a 47- yard attempt. Riley was then intercepted, but later in the third he threw 27 yards to Skylar Curran for a score and a 15-10 Cal lead. The Golden Bears failed on the two-point conversion try.
Antolin had 19 rushes for 78 yards...Marvin Jones caught five balls for 65 yards for Cal...Cal is at Stanford next Saturday before playing on the road against Washington December 5 to close the campaign...The Wildcats host Oregon, play at Arizona State and then at Southern California to end the season.
-- Via Sports Network